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4.5 out of 5 stars
A Maiden's Grave
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2002
A gripping, haunting tale from one of the best crime writers around. A party of deaf girls are on their way to a poetry recital when their bus is hijacked by a gang of ruthless criminals. Another author may have resorted to pure nastiness with shock tactics and blood and guts throughout, or else fallen back on cliched characters and plot developments. Deaver doesn't do this. The characterisation in this novel is truly outstanding.
Deaver does not rely on a patronising portrayal of the girls - instead they are real, vibrant people who just happen not to be able to hear. The reader feels for each and every one of them, and wants them all to get out alive.
The storytelling is first-rate, too. The tension is incredible, and once again Deaver throws in a few twists near the end. I did see the ending coming but it was pretty well done all the same.
I lent this book to my girlfriend, who usually avoids reading fiction. At the beginning she didn't like the novel's style but was hooked after a chapter and quite literally struggled to put it down; she spent the rest of that day and the beginning of the next reading it though she had plenty of other things she should have been doing!
All in all, the best of Jeffery Deaver's books I've read so far and one I would recommend to absolutely anyone. Outstanding.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2002
After seeing that this Deaver novel was about a hostage situation and runs over about 24 hours, I could not understand how he could drag it out for the several hundred pages it lasts for. Within 4 pages I was hooked. The storyline flits between the sensitive portrayal of the young, deaf female hostages, and the thrilling expectancy of what the thoroughly debauched hostage takers were going to do next. Throw in the efforts of the FBI agents and 'well meaning' local folk, you have the right ingredients for a compelling read. The only complaint I have about the story is that I feel, at least in this novel, that Deaver should stay well away from any romance. It might work in other novels - between Sachs and Rhyme in his other works, but I felt it was slightly misplaced here. All in all - a fantastic read, and I was genuinely disappointed when I finished it - I just wanted to read more.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Having read everything that Deaver has ever written, I must write to say that this was the book that got me started. Why oh why hasn't this been made into a movie? In the right hands it would be terrific! Better than James Patterson, and I'm also a big fan of his! An edge of your seat, page turner and all the other literary cliches that abound. The twist at the end is mind blowing, totally unexpected. Please, won't somebody make buy the film rights? 'The Bone Collector' was good as a book and a movie but this would be a blockbuster. In fact I lent my copy to so many people that it's fell apart and I'm about to order another copy from Amazon so I can re-read it!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2004
I have read a lot of Jeffrey Deaver, and he is normally very competent, but suffers from two things - weak main characters and the need for a blockbusting plot twist.
Maiden's Grave makes up for these flaws in his other books. I won't say much more about the plot other than it is about a hostage situation involving a schoolbus full of deaf girls. The main character is an FBI negotiator.
Unlike most of his other books, Deaver has resisted the temptation to make the main guy a real cliche. You have to shake your head and try to look past Amelia Sachs in the Lincoln Rhyme books because she's this outrageous supermodel-turned-policewoman. Deaver manages to go against the grain and produce a first class leading character, and how the hostage situation is handled, contained and how negotiations are carried through. The first hundred pages or so are some of the best I've read anywhere.
Now with the Deaver books, you tend to reach the "fake end" with fifty pages to go, so you know there is a big surprise coming. In Maiden's Grave, this is hinted at, and built up to to such an extent that it is actually expected and fits nicely into the story.
Buy and read in one go.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2001
This is the first Jeffery Deaver novel I have read due to the positive reviews on Amazon, and I am now completely hooked. I read this book yesterday, all day and couldn't put it down till I finished. There were so many twists in the plot, and so many deadlines, that I had to keep reading.
I agree with previous reviewers that this could be an amazing film in the right director's hands. The whole book was very visual and I could easily picture the hostages and the Rescue Team.
I was fascinated by the amount of research that Deaver had gone into about Deaf culture which made the characters more enthralling and increased the reader's interest in their fates. The evidence of the previous hostages and the psychological planning in hostage negotiation enhanced the book's impact.
I loved this novel, and I am now hooked. Thanks to all the previous reviewers! And Jeffery Deaver!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The premise was sufficiently good for me to borrow a copy of this book, though I was a little concerned that the hostages were deaf girls was a little off-putting. I needn't have worried. Deaver deals with their disability in a way that leaves the reader following their fear and troubles in a really sensitive but realistic manner. There is no room for sympathy for the hostage takers, though and from the very beginning, we know we are in for a tough read.

The fact that the hostage situation covers 500 pages is testament to the huge ability of the author to keep the reader gripped to the very end. There are many characters involved, mainly on the side of the negotiators; there are only four kidnappers, one of whom hardly appears so the thrust of the story relates more to the infighting between the FBI, the State police, hostage negotiators and a motley crew of others as they deal with the impossible demands of the hostage takers.

There is cruelty, death, the threat and realization of rape, tension galore and a finale which carries with it a nice twist. On the downside, I didn't fully understand the developing relationship between the chief negotiator and one of the hostages. This was almost like the Stockholm Syndrome in reverse. Putting that aside, the book is a cracker. It held my attention on almost every page. Deaver certainly knows how to create the tension, be it through the hostages or, indeed, through the various elements trying to get them freed. And, although originally published in 1995, this is a story which seems just as relevant today as, presumably, the publishers similarly thought, since my book is dated 2008.

If you like crime thrillers rather than crime mysteries, this is a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A MAIDEN'S GRAVE is what every trashy thriller should be. It's the kind of book that you'll want to read undisturbed at one sitting, while telling the boss, spouse, kids, pets, or whatever, "Buzz off!" I wish I could award more than 5 stars.
The plot is seemingly straight forward enough. Three cons escape from a federal pen in Kansas, hijack a bus carrying two teachers and eight young female students from a school for the deaf, and hole up in an abandoned slaughterhouse on the bank of the Arkansas River. The leader of the Bad Guys is Lou Handy, a smart, amoral and vicious felon that describes himself as "cold death". And you know what? He is. And what's he going to do with that pliers, screwdriver, wrench and hammer? And is his girlfriend, Pris, going to show up? (Handy is one of those horrific sociopaths that, in our nightmares, lurks just outside our bedroom window in the darkness waiting for us to fall asleep so he can drive a stiletto into our eyes for flipping him off on the freeway that day.) Surrounding the hidey-hole, the local, state and federal team of cops is led by Arthur Potter, a fiftyish and out-of-shape FBI agent, who also happens to be that agency's senior hostage negotiator. Arthur is the Common Man's hero, just your regular shmoe doing a job that he's extraordinarily good at.
The strength of this superb novel rests in the distinct individualities of the adversaries, and the non-stop tension as Potter must deal not only with Handy's demands and deadlines, but also with the separate agenda of Kansas state law enforcement that illustrates the saying, "We've met the enemy, and they're us." As a bonus, author Jeffery Deaver, if he did his research right, perhaps gives the reader an insight into the culture of the Deaf. (I mean, how many hearing-impaired people do you know? To my knowledge, I've never met even one.)
But certainly the most engaging character of A MAIDEN'S GRAVE is timid and frightened Melanie, the youngest of the two teachers, and who's also deaf. By the end of the story, she's evolved into another person entirely - one that'll leave you stunned.
A MAIDEN'S GRAVE is, hands down, the best thriller I've read in a long, long while. I can't recommend it enough.
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on 8 March 2013
So many crime novels layer contrivance upon contrivance and the characters have an unreal quality about them - almost as if murder and death are quaint parlour games. But this is a very different beast. Set over a 24 hour period, the plot follows the plight of a bus of deaf girls held hostage and an FBI negotiator's efforts to free them and apprehend the captors, in a superb ebb and flow of tension, sub-plot and surprise.

Deaver has a real talent for drawing character. His lead, Arthur Potter is an entirely different person to, say, Lincoln Rhyme from his other books, not just in how he is described but in his words, thoughts, attitude and persona. And he's no 100% Gallahad either. On more than one occassion Potter acknowledges that getting every girl out alive isn't necessarily his number one priority. But equally he's not a carbon-copy "maverick" either - just a normal guy who's pretty good at his job. There's an honest depth to almost every character to the point where you feel you'd recognise them if you met them.

The girls' disability isn't just there as a ploy to engender sympathy - it's woven into the plot almost matter-of-factly as part of their back-story so that they're no longer deaf girls held hostage. They are just girls held hostage - and they happen to be deaf. The lack of cloying sentiment around this gives the whole tale a ring of honesty that sets it apart from paint-by-numbers whodunnit style crime.

The tennis-match to-and-fro between negotiator and hostage taker is genuinely thrilling as they try to out-guess, out-lie and outwit each other; all the while with the protagonist trying to maintain a delicate balance and fight off the demands of the press, quell staff revolt and diffuse state vs federal interests.

And, of course, with this being a Deaver novel you're never quite sure when the story has played out. Once again he doesn't disappoint, offering you more just when you think your're done. The only weak element of the book was the slight nod at romance which comes across as somewhat twee, especially following the torrid, nervous high-wire walk through the motivations and desires of a cast of people in a pressure cooker situation.

By the end of the novel you'll know all 3 hostage takers, all the girls and teachers, the various deputies and FBI staff individually and it's credit to Deaver for conjuring all these characters so thoroughly yet still maintaining a constant pace and thumping level of suspense.

Even if you don't generally like crime novels, I would urge you to give this one a try.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2002
This was the first book of Deaver's I've ever read, and since reading it I always look for his books on the shelves.
Exciting in its intensity, it manages to describe a hostage situation in great detail, whilst still allowing you a profound empathy for all the characters.
Deaver displays a great sense of equality and respect for the Deaf and allows you to truly enter their world without the usual undercurrents of pity.
I can hardly put into words how incredible this book is, so go buy it! Read it. I bet you won't be able to put it down.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2003
At first A Maiden's Grave is a little confusing - but very quickly dives into the hostage scenario that makes up the entire story. The characters quickly come alive and you will soon find yourself rooting for the FBI negotatior. The story ably twists from one situation to another - sometimes surprisingly, ensuring the book never becomes predictable.
I came to read this after reading The Bone Collecter, and am now looking for other books by Deaver...
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